Marc Leishman has admitted he is “fine” if his days of regularly playing majors are over due to LIV Golf’s world rankings stalemate as the veteran tries to fill one of the last gaps on his resume.
Leishman, who arrived back in Australia on Friday for his first tournament on home soil in three years, is on the cusp of ending 30 consecutive appearances in majors after joining Greg Norman’s Saudi-backed tour.
LIV Golf is yet to receive official status for its 54-hole, no-cut tournaments and Leishman has been one of the biggest victims of the impasse with his world ranking dipping to 68.
The top 50 players in the world at the end of the calendar year receive an invite to The Masters, all but ending Leishman’s chances of making an 11th appearance at Augusta National. He’s had three top-10 finishes in The Masters.
Leishman has made peace with the ramifications of his call to join countryman and world No.3 Cameron Smith in the controversial LIV series, which will bring the richest golf tournament ever held in Australia to Adelaide in April.
Augusta National and the governing bodies of the US Open and US PGA Championships are yet to declare whether LIV players will be allowed to contest their majors, with Smith urging officials to “rise above politics”.
Asked about forfeiting his own spot at The Masters due to his rankings dip, Leishman told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age: “That was one of the things I had to weigh up when I did make the move.
“I’ve played at pretty much all the majors for the last 12 or 13 years. I’ve had my chances. Obviously, I want to play them, but I’m fine not playing them.
“I’ll try to qualify for the British Open and the US Open and if the world rankings happen, I’d love to get into The Masters. If not, I’ll watch it on the TV and hopefully watch Cam win it.”
Leishman has said he will spend more time in Australia next year due to LIV’s long off-season and he walked the fairways at Warrnambool Golf Club over the weekend for the first time since the pandemic began in 2020.
He has teamed with Smith to build an Australian franchise for LIV Golf, a business challenge he hoped would fulfil him in his post-playing days.
“I’ve loved my time on the PGA Tour and I certainly enjoyed the transition,” he said. “That was one of the things that drew me to it. I’m not getting any younger and you can play golf forever, but you don’t know how high a level you can play at as you get at into your 40s.
“After playing, that’s going to be certainly something to work with and hopefully we can build the franchise and be a part of it when golf is done.”
The 39-year-old will start as one of the favourites for the Australian PGA in Brisbane this week before returning to Melbourne for the Australian Open at Kingston Heath and Victoria clubs.
As British Open champion, Smith will be the major drawcard in a field including Adam Scott, Lucas Herbert, Min Woo Lee, Cameron Davis and Ryan Fox.
Despite having won six times on the PGA Tour, Leishman craves a major tournament on home soil. He finished second in the 2018 Australian PGA, two shots behind Smith.
“That’s one thing that’s missing: one of the big tournaments in Australia,” Leishman said.
“I’ve been close a few times up at the PGA and to do that would certainly be something I want to do, and I would like to do it sooner rather than later.
“I’m excited to get up to Queensland for the PGA at a course I’ve played well at before, not since it’s been re-done though. Hopefully I can give myself a chance and we’ll see what happens.”
Source : The Sydney Morning Herald